Two Pesticides Linked To Parkinson’s Disease

The risk for Parkinson’s Disease has been linked to two more toxic substances: <"">Rotenone and Paraquat. The link was made in recent research in which people who used either pesticide developed Parkinson’s Disease some 2.5 times more than nonusers, said Science Daily.

The research, said Science Daily, was a collaboration between the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), an arm of the National Institutes of Health, and the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center in Sunnyvale, California. Parkinson’s Disease is a central nervous system disorder that affects motor skills and speech.

“Rotenone directly inhibits the function of the mitochondria, the structure responsible for making energy in the cell,” said Freya Kamel, Ph.D., a researcher in the intramural program at NIEHS and co-author of the paper, which is online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, quoted Science Daily. “Paraquat increases production of certain oxygen derivatives that may harm cellular structures. People who used these pesticides or others with a similar mechanism of action were more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease,” added Kamel.

The researchers looked at 110 Parkinson’s Disease patients and 358 so-called matched controls from the Farming and Movement Evaluation (FAME) Study, reviewing links between Parkinson’s Disease and exposure to pesticides and other Hazardous Chemical Substances known to be toxic to nerve tissue, said Science Daily. FAME is a case-control study within the larger Agricultural Health Study that involves about 90,000 licensed pesticide applicators and their spouses, said Science Daily.

The Toxic Injury diagnosis was made by investigators and movement disorder specialists, explained Science Daily; the team also assessed the life-long use of pesticides as part of their “detailed” interview process.

Paraquat and rotenone are not registered for home use; Paraquat use is only allowed by certified applicators due to issues based on animal studies of it and Parkinson’s Disease, said Science Daily. Rotenone is a pesticide used to kill invasive fish.

“These findings help us to understand the biologic changes underlying Parkinson’s disease. This may have important implications for the treatment and ultimately the prevention of Parkinson’s disease,” said Caroline Tanner, M.D., Ph.D., clinical research director of the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center, and lead author of the article, quoted Science Daily.

We previously wrote that prior research found a link between pesticide exposure—this time, Paraquat was involved—and some cases of Parkinson’s Disease. Researchers have long believed that pesticides may cause Parkinson’s; experiments found that chemicals—specifically maneb, a fungicide and Paraquat, an herbicide—do, in fact, cause Parkinson’s-like symptoms in animals.

California researchers found that people residing near fields where maneb or Paraquat were sprayed were about 75 percent likelier to develop Parkinson’s, and patients who developed early-onset Parkinson’s (prior to age 60), experienced twice the risk for the disease if exposed to either chemical alone, and four times the risk if exposed to both. Generally, the disease followed exposure.

The results of another study of 319 Parkinson’s patients and 200 nonParkinson’s-affected relatives found that people diagnosed with Parkinson’s are more than two times likelier to report pesticide exposure over people not diagnosed with the disease. In that study, insecticides and herbicides—specifically citing organochlorines, organophosphorus compounds, chlorophenoxy acids/esters, and botanicals—were responsible for increased risk of developing Parkinson’s.

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